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How to Host a Fabulous Friendsgiving

Ideas and Tips for Planning a Perfect Potluck

Is it your year to host your group's Friendsgiving? SignUp has got you covered – here's all you need to know to throw an amazing celebration they'll be talking about long after the holiday season! 

Non-Food Halloween Treats

What is Friendsgiving?

According to Merriam-Webster, Friendsgiving is a blend of the words “friend” and “Thanksgiving”, and it refers to “a large meal eaten with friends either on or near Thanksgiving”. It’s a more informal version of Thanksgiving, usually occurring on the Wednesday before or the Friday after Thanksgiving Day – but because of the casual nature of the day there isn’t a strict set of guidelines. Want to host a Friendsgiving weeks before Thanksgiving? Then go for it!

How do I Plan Friendsgiving?

Make it a brunch, lunch, or dinner. Don’t cook or don’t want to? Have your friends pick up their favorite take-out and everyone shares a big family meal – a cornucopia of ethnicities and flavors to relish. 

Craving something simple? Grab your Thanksgiving leftovers, some fun holiday movies, and head over to your bestie’s house for a relaxing day of togetherness. 

Want something a little more structured, but still low stress? Then use SignUp.com for your Friendsgiving potluck needs! With just a few clicks organize who is bringing what, send reminders, and keep track of the menu – so you can relax and actually enjoy Friendsgiving. Participants sign up on their smartphone or computer, choose their contributions, and receive automatic reminders. 

PRO TIP: Remember to add spaces for volunteers to help set up and clean up so you aren’t stressing about doing it all yourself. 

What do I Serve at Friendsgiving?

Mix it up/Start a new tradition – avoid turkey burnout by choosing a different theme for your Friendsgiving meal (Asian-themed, Italian-themed, farm-to-table, etc.) or a different main dish (pork belly, Prime Rib, tofu for your vegetarian friends). A fun idea is to choose a specific cookbook author or cookbook and have everyone pick a recipe to make.

PRO TIP: Remember your friends with allergies and dietary restrictions – print these free food-allergy meal tags and when your friends arrive, ask them to fill one out for each dish they brought.

Tell guests to bring wine or their favorite drinks.

Include snacks and appetizers on the SignUp in case dinner gets delayed.

Friendsgiving Games & Activities

Here are some suggestions for entertainment at your Friendsgiving celebration.

  • Ask for a volunteer or assign a guest as the DJ (make a playlist) to provide music. 
    • PRO TIP: Create a playlist and burn to thumb drives or CDs to give out to guests so they have something fun to remember the day.
  • Host a movie marathon. Play all of the Star Wars or Fast & Furious movies, or ask your guests to bring their favorite holiday movie.
  • Play Friendsgiving Bingo. Check out SignUp's printable Bingo cards for a slight twist on a classic game.
  • Set up a Thankful Jar: Spray paint some small rocks and have your guests write what they’re thankful for with a permanent marker. Read them out loud before you eat.
  • Create a photo booth with fun props. Think up a hashtag so everyone can share on social media.
  • Have friends bring their favorite board games and host a game day.
  • Pick up some 2x4s (or something similar), cut them in a uniform length, sand the edges, and play a game of Giant Jenga.
    • PRO TIP: Check with the lumber department of your local hardware store to see if they offer free cutting when you buy your 2x4s from them.

Tips for Friendsgiving with Kids

If friends are bringing their kids, schedule your Friendsgiving for lunch or an early dinner since bedtimes come into play, or hire a high school or college-aged kid to babysit so the adults can have fun and not worry about their kids.

Snacks and appetizers are especially important if children will be attending. Plan on including kid-friendly foods like chicken nuggets, chips, ham and cheese roll-ups, mini-corn dogs, cheese and crackers, popcorn, cookies/brownies, etc. along with your more grown-up selections.

PRO TIP: If you don’t have kids around the same age as your guests, ask parents to bring age-appropriate toys that can be shared. Be sure to label everything so it goes home with the correct person.

Check out SignUp's printable coloring place mats to give the kiddos a fun activity that will keep them happily busy while the adults have a moment to visit with each other.

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Looking for more ideas? See our Potluck Planning Center for SignUp sheets, event reminders, checklists to ensure your Friendsgiving runs smoothly. 


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